Impact Influencer Series (1): An Interview with Alfred Mayaki
Please tell us a bit about your story.
Hi guys, thanks for reaching out to me for this Impact Influencer Series interview. My name is Alfred Mayaki and I'm a consultant in the Executive Search industry with 5 years’ experience in talent acquisition. Through my business Impact in Business Recruitment (IBR), I connect mid-senior professionals who have Chartered Finance backgrounds with infrastructure finance companies (investment advisers who bring operators and funds together to forecast the value of wind farm projects for example). These professionals usually unavailable and are often hard to find and as such vacancies are typically impossible to fill.
I'm originally from Kogi in Nigeria, which is the State just outside the capital, Abuja. I studied at University in Essex, which too is also just outside of London. I studied for a Masters in Economics and also have a BSc in Business Management. I speak partial French and some Spanish and even less Yoruba.
I met Martina in December 2012 after attending an event at MSCI in London. It was an ESG panel discussion with the guys at YourSRI, she was still doing her PhD then. Since then, I've had a few jobs, one in banking and one in executive search but I feel my journey has led me to owning my own business and running it from home.
I started my journey to make an impact in January 2010 as one of the Founders of IBR which was at the time an incredible youth engagement project that was even featured in the Financial Times. The experience was an amazing platform for me and my business partners, I worked quite closely with the elder brother of a close friend of mine from University, Alex Omisesan who I knew because we attended the same Church. Me and Alex and all our partners, pitched a concept to design a CV workshop for the students at George Monoux and gave daily presentations on the fundamentals of public speaking, CV writing and other work-ready skills. IBR then gave the highest performing and outstanding students a fast-track opportunity to be offered internships with Alex’s employer, Morson International, a world leading recruitment specialist in infrastructure and aerospace engineering.
That was the summer of 2011. Since 2011, the 5 colleges we worked with have internalized the approach of the program, but we now also support people through like the Princes Trust, Career Ear, Your Startup, Your Story (YSYS) and The Accelerator Network. I like to think IBR precedes a few of the more prominent recruitment platforms such as the likes of Joanna Abeyie’s Hyden and KiKe Onuwinde’s BYP Network in terms of longevity. I’m appreciative to call the likes of Joanna and Kike as colleagues and mentors. As of today, we’re actively bringing career opportunities to bright and capable recent graduates such as Karun, an MEng graduate from Loughborough. Karun, with his interest in infrastructure finance and energy/utilities has written a master’s thesis, authored various research reports and published a range of articles on the energy industry. Karun is a template for the young leaders we’d like to develop in Britain.
As a Director now looking back at this decade, I’ve been lucky enough to visit the World Economic Forum and speak directly with its senior leaders, I feel the markets are the first place to look to find adequate rules of conduct for participants to be incentivized into investing in sustainability and social governance models. I recently spoke to David Escoffier - an Impact Investor at Eighteen East Capital and we discussed these things and that was very inspiring with regard to SDGs.
“One has to embrace the system and then commit to making an effort to change the small and incremental things which can benefit the entire population.”
What made you move to establishing Impact in Business Recruiting (IBR)?
My initial motivation for establishing IBR came from my line manager, Joanna Biggadyke, and my co-workers Will, Ellie and Sadie, while I was an employee at Société Générale in London. I have them to thank for tabling the idea. I should also thank the person who interviewed me for my first job at Société Générale, Neary Guenin. Another major inspiration in my career is my mom, she works for a homelessness charity in their head office in Central London. Other inspirations include: Marion Chivot – Sustainability and CSR, William Boateng – Financial Services Projects, Bryan D’Souza – Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
I think the guys at Your Start-up Your Story (YSYS) deserve a mention to. YSYS is a community of diverse founders who have come together to raise the profile of funding opportunities for technology start-ups in London. Collaborate with accelerators and mentorship programs to educate BAME founders. Promote equality, inclusion and diversity in the workplace both for YSYS start-ups and otherwise.
To date, YSYS have received over £15 million in funds allocated to us from a consortium of investors including JP Morgan. We get regular exposure in the Evening Standard and other newspapers like the Metro and FT and we’re looking at raising mid-stage funds for the start-ups we have identified as capable of becoming unicorns in the future based on their fundamentals.
The community speak regularly at annual and bi-annual events such as AfroTech Fest, where ideas are exchanged, and networking and new business is developed. The crossover with Sustainability is of course, YSYS would ideally like to invest using better profiling of their target companies. When we talk about the S and G in ESG we’re looking very much at start-ups which embrace inclusivity and who promote diversity proudly as part of their internal culture and brand.
What are the things you are trying to change in industry through your organization?
As you guys may know, I’m at IBR in London. But for the interview I thought I’d let you know that I’m also a Co- Founder at Regal Executive Search in Los Angeles who are a small firm that specialize in Tax search and selection across San Diego and California and even San Francisco to an extent. Tax in the Renewables space evolves mostly around tax credits. On the Advisory side, Renewables are more a project or corporate finance focus than anything. At IB, we see our role as encouraging the next generation of chartered professionals. What we’ve noticed is there is a skills gap in this area now and we need much more of an intake from the younger generation to supplement the growth of the industry. Some of our recent advisory clients have included companies such as Saffrey Champness and Gleacher Shacklock, so we’re trying to transition into a search firm that inspires a new generation of tax and advisory influencers.
From your perspective as a recruitment professional, how can millennial talent be further developed regarding the integration of ESG factors in the finance sector?
Interesting question. I read in an ImpactAlpha newsletter recently that, according to a recent study leveraged buyouts resulted in substantial job losses. The study, authored by economists including Josh Lerner from Harvard Business School and Steven Davis from the University of Chicago, evaluated about 9,800 US private equity takeovers from 1980 to 2013. The analysis focused on the two years immediately following a buyout, and on average, the researchers found an overall net job loss of 4.4% in that time period.
PE backed startup jobs in the US may be under threat from extinction but there’s hope for our generation to escape the gig economy. There is a new template for employee engagement. Identifying rising stars and developing them internally, allowing your linchpins to write great journal articles, become young though leaders in your spare time, publish in Elseview, JSTOR, establish websites and publications, write something that explains the world you want, anything. In Africa, we have young professionals supporting the Agenda 2063, which we hope will create The Africa We Want. If you are a 30 under 30 in your country in Africa, or a shortlisted executive with leadership potential, focusing on your career and putting sustainability first, aiming to transform the finance sector for the next generation. Attend conferences like Davos, The Africa CEO Forum, The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and Africa Energy Indaba, they are all there to encourage young professionals to implement change with maximum affect.
How can millennials get involved in IBR’s activities?
We’re going to hosting an Impact in Business Forum shortly in the new year which will bring together employers and panelists to discuss issues which concern Environmental and Social Governance. We’re also partnering with a new student education app called Career Ear, founded by Claudine Adeyemi.
What are the things that you think needs to be changed in terms of markets, policies and regulations?
As a recruitment professional, I’ve always thought that public policy in the UK ought to make faith-based investing a much more feasible option to the market for many who wish to participate. Both Islamic Finance products and Catholic SRI products are an incredible way to boost impact in sustainable projects. I also think Social Impact bonds are a great idea, I remember sitting in to an event at MSCI in London where MSCI’s Drew Fryer gave a high level overview of the indices and specific investment risks of a particular target company from an ESG perspective. The reality is the research on ESG doesn’t yet exist.
There isn’t a way to track ESG metrics other than through news updates and company announcements, which are all publicly available information. The problem being that those who release the news get the information ahead of the market and can act more quickly and precisely. What the sector ought to do is borrow from the Fund Management sector in the European Union where the largest Funds have to publish fungible investor related documentation.
Where do you see IBR to be at in 5 years?
In 5 years, IBR will have been going for 15 years and I will consider our team to be senior executive search consultants, who will be very well equipped to run retained searches as search partners for UK energy and infrastructure finance professionals.